Dancing Dots
Where Music Meets Technology for the blind
Dancing Dots serves blind musicians and their educators through technology and training

Creating Music Braille Using SharpEye 2, Lime and GOODFEEL
   For Blind and Sighted Users

By Bill McCann of Dancing Dots

The instructions in this document include specifics on using SharpEye, Lime and GOODFEEL with a screen reader. However, these instructions should prove useful to anyone. You might also want to read GOODFEEL for sighted users which was written specifically for sighted people.

The instructions in this document refer to the JAWS for Windows screen reader, but all popular screen readers should be able to deliver access to SharpEye 2. If you should find otherwise, please post a note Contact us or, better yet, to our goodfeel listserv. If you're not yet subscribed to our list, see subscription instructions on our at Listserv.

In addition, these instructions were developed using a Canon N656U. Your procedure might be different especially if you don't have a Canon scanner, however, the concepts are the same.

Transcribing from print hard copy to music braille is a three-step process of scanning, editing and transcribing. Each step is accomplished with a different software program. Each program flows into the next making the process seamless and intuitive. This article focuses on using SharpEye in the initial scanning step. Here's an overview of how to scan, edit and transcribe your work. After the overview, I'll give detailed background and instructions.

Overview of Steps to Create Music Braille with GOODFEEL

  1. Scan with SharpEye (optional step but usually helpful)
    1. Configure scanner (generally only necessary once)
    2. Scan sheet music
      1. Acquire an image of the music (File | Acquire or ALT+F, then Q. Then tab to Scan button and press ENTER).
      2. Recognize the music (Read | Read or ALT+R, then R). (Need not save image)
      3. Correct any rhythm or key or time signature errors. Editing tools inaccessible to blind users.
      4. Listen to the music (File | Play/Stop or ALT+F, L).
    3. Save as music file for editing step below:
      1. If blind: File | MIDI | Save and open temp file (ALT+F, D, T).
      2. If sighted: File | NIFF | Save and open temp file.
  2. Edit scanned information or, if you skipped the optional scanning step, begin entering score data. See "Preparing Files for GOODFEEL to Transcribe"
    1. If blind, use Cakewalk, preferably with CakeTalking JAWS scripts.
    2. If sighted, use Lime notation editor
  3. Transcribe with GOODFEEL
    1. Set Format Options (ALT+O) (Usually first time only)
      1. Transcription options: choose North American, U.K. or International.
      2. Embosser options: choose Generic / Text Only and set embosser to North American ASCII.
    2. Procedure for Every Piece (with default automation options)
      1. Choose Automatic Transcription button.
      2. View Braille on screen, with Braille display, or send to embosser.

Details of Steps to Create Music Braille with GOODFEEL
Step 1. How to Scan with SharpEye 2

  1. Start SharpEye and press CONTROL+TAB to move focus to SharpEye's main window.
  2. Select Your Scanner
    This step is only necessary if you have more than one scanner or if you have the software drivers for more than one scanner on your computer. This step also only needs to be performed if you want SharpEye to use a scanner that you did not use the last time SharpEye was run.
    • Press ALT+F and then the letter T to open the Select Source dialog.
    • Tab to the list of scanners and be sure that the scanner you want to use is selected. Tab to the Select Button and press ENTER.
  3. Acquire an Image
    • Press ALT+F and then the letter q to open the scanning software supplied with your scanner. For me, that means that SharpEye opens the ScanGear software for my CanoScan N656U scanner.
    • Configure your Scanning Software
      As noted above, it is impossible to offer specifics on how to accomplish this step. Basically you want to select an image mode of grayscale (older versions of SharpEye only support black and white (document), OCR or Line Art mode) and a resolution of 300 dpi. Check out Using Scanning Interfaces for specific directions for some scanners.
      Here's what I've done to set up my ScanGear software supplied with my CanoScan N656U scanner:
      • At this point I can press CONTROL+TAB to move to the settings screen for ScanGear. On the Main tab there is a setting called Color Mode. On tabbing to this combo box, you'll be in a list of options. Arrow up and down until you hear "Black and White" and select that option. Tab to Output Resolution and make sure it is set to 300 dpi (dots per inch). Editor's note: These directions were written before SharpEye accepted grayscale images so please now select grayscale.
      • After you have made your selections, press CONTROL+TAB until you hear "Preview Button." Now follow the remaining instructions.
    • Preview and/or Scan
      Scanning software usually offers a preview of the material to be scanned. This step tells you that the sheet music has been placed right side up in the scanner and presents a small image of what will be scanned.
      • Press ALT+S to begin scanning. You may want to set JAWS to Say-all mode by pressing INSERT+S until JAWS says "All." JAWS will now report the scanning progress which displays the percent completed.
      • When the scanning software is finished, press CONTROL+TAB (JAWS should say "SharpEye2.")
      • Press ALT+R and then the letter R to begin SharpEye's read/recognition step. Again, you may want to set JAWS to Say-all mode to hear the percent completed report. You will probably hear a query from SharpEye telling you that the image is unsaved. I always say OK to this query but you may want to save the image for future use. During this read process, you can also check the percent completed value by pressing INSERT+NumPad3.

  4. Clean up Rhythm Warnings
    If all goes well, SharpEye will report "0 rhythm warnings." If so, you can go on to the steps below to save your music file and go on to edit with Cakewalk or Lime and to transcribe to Braille with GOODFEEL. However, if you have rhythm errors, you should correct them in SharpEye before continuing. Note that if you have many rhythm warnings you could have a missing or incorrect time signature. Blind users will need assistance from a sighted helper to clean up these warnings.

    Some errors like incorrect pitches can easily be fixed after SharpEye but here is a list of errors that should be fixed in SharpEye:

    • Time signature errors
    • Rhythm errors
    • Clef errors
    • Key signature errors

    While there are more rhythm warnings or other mistakes:
    Press ALT+M then G or click on the blue arrow to move to the next rhythm warning.

    • To modify a musical symbol, left-click it and then make a selection from the palette above the music.
    • To delete a musical symbol, left-click it and press the delete key.
    • To add a musical symbol, right-click anywhere in the music, select the type of musical symbol from above the music then right-click at the location where the symbol belongs.

    Don't forget to save your work from time to time using File | Save!

  5. Processing Multiple Pages
    Multiple pages can be processed by basically repeating steps 3 and 4 for each page and then after all the pages have been processed separately, read Multi-page Scores in SharpEye's online Help. We recommend using the process that involves converting the pages individually (Read | Read) and then combining them in SharpEye. Read How to Scan Multiple Pages in SharpEye for more information.

  6. More Editing

    Associating File Types with Programs

    SharpEye will open MIDI and NIFF files using the program that Windows has associated with those file types. If SharpEye opens these file types correctly skip this section. To change the program associated with a file type: Go to Start | Help then go to the index and enter the keyword "Associating files", press ENTER, select the item that refers to changing the association and then follow the directions.

    Cakewalk users are given one opportunity to make this association during the Cakewalk installation; you are asked if you'd like Windows to open Cakewalk when a MIDI file is double-clicked. Select this option to make the proper association.

    Lime automatically associates NIFF files with Lime every time you run it.

    Blind Users

    Press ALT+F, then D and then T. These keystrokes cause SharpEye to save your music as a MIDI file in a temporary folder and then open this MIDI file in whatever program Windows has associated with MIDI files. For most blind users, this should be Cakewalk. Whether SharpEye opens Cakewalk automatically or not, you are now ready to go to Cakewalk or any MIDI sequencer to continue preparing your MIDI file for transcription by GOODFEEL.

    Sighted Users

    Select File | NIFF | Save and Open Temp File. SharpEye will open Lime for you and you can continue preparing the Lime file for transcription by GOODFEEL.
Step 2: Editing

All users should consult the article "Preparing Files for GOODFEEL to Transcribe" under GOODFEEL's online help to learn about the specifics of using Lime or a MIDI sequencer. GOODFEEL's online help is accessible from Start (menu) | Programs | GOODFEEL | GOODFEEL Help or in GOODFEEL by pressing F1. Press SHIFT+CONTROL+TAB to the Contents Page, arrow down to "Preparing Files for GOODFEEL" and press RIGHT ARROW to open it. All users should review articles in this section before brailling anything with GOODFEEL. In particular, arrow down to either "Preparing MIDI Files for GOODFEEL" or "Preparing Lime Files for GOODFEEL."

Launching GOODFEEL from Lime

Choose "Launch GOODFEEL" from Lime's File menu to pass your Lime file onto GOODFEEL for transcription.

Launching GOODFEEL from CakeTalking

Cakewalk users who use CakeTalking 2.2 can press INSERT+G to pass their Cakewalk information to GOODFEEL. Otherwise, save your file as a MIDI format 1 file, close Cakewalk, run GOODFEEL and use CONTROL+O to open that MIDI file for transcription.

Step 3: Transcribing with GOODFEEL

Set all desired options by choosing Options (ALT+O) from GOODFEEL's main menu or before choosing "Automatic Transcription" from GOODFEEL's Braille Process dialog. Unless you want to take advantage of advanced formatting options such as suppressing selected parts from brailling, changing standard interval directions or specifying more than one voice on a MIDI track, you will need to do very little work in GOODFEEL itself.

Once you're sure your options are set to your personal preferences, choose "Automatic Transcription." If GOODFEEL finds no errors or things to bring to your attention about your Lime or MIDI file, it will present a dialog that allows you to view the music Braille on screen or with a Braille display. Or, you can simply send it directly to your embosser. If warnings are found, GOODFEEL will first show you a list of them. Press F1 to get more help and to link to other areas of GOODFEEL's online, context-sensitive help. If the errors are serious, you will need to make corrections in Lime or Cakewalk and reload the file into GOODFEEL. You can close the list of messages with ALT+C or by clicking on the Close button.

Braille Versions of this Document

These files can all be brailled with Duxbury but if you don't have Duxbury use these instructions for brailling the formatted Braille documents:
  1. Save it to your computer (We recommend c:\windows\temp).
  2. Open a DOS prompt.
  3. Use the cd command to get to the correct folder (CD \windows\temp).
  4. Type: copy gfp*.brf lpt1[ENTER]. This assumes that you didn't rename the file and that your embosser is hooked up to LPT1.

In Conclusion

I invite all users to give us feedback on the usefulness of these instructions. We'll apply suggestions and revise as necessary.


Copyright 2002 Dancing Dots

Copyright 2002, 2005 Dancing Dots